List of designated private delivery services is updated, postmark rules revised

By Sally P. Schreiber, J.D.

For the first time in over ten years, the IRS on Wednesday updated the list of designated private delivery services (PDSs) that taxpayers can use to take advantage of Sec. 7502’s timely mailing equals timely filing/paying rule (Notice 2015-38). The notice also updates and consolidates the timely filing rules that apply to designated PDSs.

This update, the first since 2004, removes five delivery services that were previously provided by DHL, which discontinued most domestic deliveries in the United States in 2009. It also adds three FedEx and one UPS services to the list. The Fed EX designated PDSs on the new list are FedEx First Overnight (new), FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2 Day, FedEx International Next Flight Out (new), FedEx International Priority, FedEx International First, and FedEx International Economy (new).

Seven United Parcel Service (UPS) delivery services are designated PDSs on the list. They are UPS Next Day Air Early A.M. (new), UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express.

The notice states that only the 15 delivery services on the list are designated PDSs and that taxpayers should be aware that using any other FedEx or UPS service will not satisfy the mailbox rule. The list is effective May 6, and the IRS will not update it unless a PDS is removed from or added to the list or if the process to apply to be a PDS is changed. (Presently, applicants must apply by June 30 to be approved for the next filing season, and the notice contains a new address to send applications.) 


According to the notice, each PDS records electronically the date on which an item was given to it for delivery, which is treated as the postmark date for Sec. 7502. The postmark date for an item delivered after the due date is presumed to be the day that precedes the delivery date by an amount of time that equals the amount of time it would normally take for an item to be delivered under the terms of the specific type of delivery service used.

Taxpayers can overcome this presumption by providing information to prove that the date recorded in the delivery service’s electronic database is on or before the due date. This can be done with a written confirmation from the PDS. The IRS says that each PDS stores this information in its database only for a limited time, but for at least six months. Senders or recipients using a designated PDS can obtain this information by contacting the designated PDS.   

Sally P. Schreiber ( is a JofA senior editor.


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